Markets

Norwegian shipping company Höegh LNG sees continued growth in global gas demand as falling LNG prices help developers press ahead with decentralized power projects, supplied with natural gas via floating regas and storage units. Höegh participates in two FRSU tenders in Asia, and seeks to renew all its short-term charters by 2021.

Algerian state-owned Sonatrach has renewed its gas export contract with the French utility ENGIE – just days after Kamel Eddine Chikhi was appointed as its new CEO. Energy sales are vital for the Algerian economy, and Sonagas stated it has already renewed its gas delivery arrangement with Botas, Galp Energia, Enel, Eni and Edisson as well as Naturgy.

Fast adoption of floating LNG technology across Asia is opening up new gas markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. According to Black & Veatch, gas-fired power projects are “attractive for emerging markets” due to advantages in price, reliability and fuel access over developing technologies such as battery storage.

Ratings agency Moody’s has raised its forecast for German wholesale power prices by €5, reflecting higher carbon emissions prices. Wholesale power prices are seen to vary in a range of €40-50/MWh through 2022, and will also "become more volatile” as the share of renewables increases.

Energy demand in Africa, home to the fastest growing and youngest population on the planet, will be “critical for the world’s energy future, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA). In its latest World Energy Outlook (WEO2019), the Paris-based agency urged African leaders to tap the continent’s huge potential from solar, wind and natural gas.

Natural gas production in the United States is going from strength to strength, as is domestic gas use and export. According to Government figures, dry gas output surged 12% to 83.8 Bcf/d in 2018 and is on course to a fresh record this year. Consumption rose 11% over the same period, driven by demand from the power sector.

Chart Industries has installed and commissioned Europe’s largest LNG fuelling station near the northern German city of Bakum. Using cleaner-burning LNG as a transport fuel will help reduce sector emissions before Germany’s new national emission trading system (ETS) for transport comes into effect in 2021.

Amid growing needs for grid balancing, manufacturers of battery-based energy storages systems are struggling to source enough cobalt, lithium, and nickel. Analysts warn that the current low price for these raw materials defers the expansion of mining activity which could cause a supply crunch by mid-2020.

Fast-rising oil and gas production in the United States keeps pushing up utility-scale electricity generation from gas-fired power plants. The share of gas generation will rise from 37% this year to 38% in 2020, while the contribution of coal power falls from 25% to less than 22%, the EIA said in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Though green hydrogen is still more costly to produce than conventional sources, Wood Mackenzie expects it could reach parity by 2030 in Australia, Germany and Japan based on $30 per MWh for renewables. While technology is advancing, analysts see “considerable uncertainty” around hydrogen investment in Asia-Pacific.

U.S. infrastructure firm AECOM has seen its full-year revenue rise to $20.2 billion, despite a 3% drop in earnings at its construction services segment. Completion of several combined-cycle power plants in the fourth quarter was not replaced by new orders, as AECOM said it “decided to extract itself from the fixed-priced power plant market.”

Deep disparities between well-supplied oil and gas markets, growing emissions and the insufficiency of stated policies to curb those emissions are the key theme of the 2019 World Energy Outlook (WEO), published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) today. However, critics the IEA is “underplaying the speed” at which the world could switch to green energy.

Japan’s machinery and electric equipment maker Toshiba is considering taking full control of two of its four listed subsidiaries, including Toshiba Plant Systems & Services and Nishishiba Electric. With Toshiba’s board is still discussing the matter, market observers expect a decision to be made in the coming weeks.

State-owned Saudi Aramco, the world’s most valuable oil company, has disclosed details on the initial public offering (IPO) of at least 0.5% of its shares in December. In its IPO prospectus, Aramco said it strives to remain the world’s leading crude oil producer by volume and low cost, while boosting investment in natural gas upstream, LNG trading and green energy.

Rolls-Royce’s power system unit and 2G Energy, German maker of gensets and cogeneration modules, have agreed to mutually supply gas-powered gensets. Under the deal, Rolls-Royce will buy 2G gensets in the 250-550 kilowatt range and re-sell them under its MTU brand, while 2G buys MTU Series 4000 generators in a range of 776 kW to 2,535 kW.

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News in Brief

OGUK responds to Labour Party Manifesto

Nov 21 – The UK North Sea industry association Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) has warned of an investment hiatus in reaction to Labour’s pledge to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, if it wins the General Election on December 12. Responding to this, OGUK said any increase in tax rates would drive investors away, damage the competitiveness of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, and could potentially increase the country’s reliance on imports. OGUK underlined it has put in place a ‘Roadmap 2035 a blueprint for net zero emission’ and is investing in technology to achieve this goal.

France, Germany and UK led on demand-side flexibility

Nov 21 – France, Germany and the UK are leading on demand-side flexibility (DSF) and grid-integration of decentralized energy sources while Sweden, Spain and Portugal are lagging behind the rest of Europe, the consultancy Delta-EE and SmartEN finds. Areas covered by their new DSF monitoring tool include availability and accessibility of demand-side response, and its monetization across the gas value chain.

AI predicts peak in power use

Nov 20 – ABB and Verdigris Technologies have developed machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in electricity consumption and help avoid them. The Energy Forecasting app will enable users to reduce their electricity bills by reducing peak demand charges.

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.

COP25 urged to step up climate efforts

Nov 18 – The COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid is urged to enshrine greater commitments from the world's industrialised nations to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. “Europe will have to play a key role in this regard,“ environment minister Svenja Schulze said, adding Germany's recently announced climate package marks a "restart" in the country's climate policy.

Wärtsilä launches ‘Expertise Centre’ in Singapore

Nov 15 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has chosen Singapore as the location for its latest Expertise Centre (EC) that provides operational support and dynamic maintenance planning, both for marine and energy business customers. All of Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres combined currently monitor some 900 installations with more than 2,000 engines around the world.

U.S. storage injection hits record high

Nov 14 – Near-record volumes of natural gas have been placed into storage in the United States in the current injection season. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount of gas held in storage in 2019 surged from a relatively low value of 1,155 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the beginning of April to 3,724 Bcf at the end of October.

SaskPower proceeds with Moose Jaw project

Nov 13 – Canadian utility SaskPower has taken a significant step towards realizing a 350 MW gas power plant at Moose Jaw. The project was first proposed in 2017, but in the Canadian federal government June last year introduced new regulations for gas generation coming online after January 1, 2021, which stalled the plans. Having completed its regulatory review, Sask Power was now granted permission to proceed from the municipality of Moose Jaw. Major Fraser Tolmie said “this $700-million investment into the city of Moose Jaw, will ensure we have base-load power in the province of Saskatchewan and to maintain our power independence.”

Sembcorp powers up first BESS unit in the UK

Nov 12 – Sembcorp Energy UK, part of Singapore-based Sempcorp Group, has started to operate the first 60 MW unit of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet, supplied by GE. Combined, the three storage units in Leicestershire and Cheshire will bring Sembcorp Energy UK’s total energy portfolio to 973 MW.

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.